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Berry No. 1 Deep Lead Gold Mine

  • Dsc 6465 3
  • Dsc 6457 2
  • Dsc 6451 1
  • Dsc 6497 4
Daylesford-Clunes Road, Lawrence VIC 3364

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Features

  • Historic mine site
  • Impressive pump house ruins
  • Private property - view from alongside the road
The impressive remains of the Berry No. 1 deep lead gold mine are a striking roadside feature along the drive between Smeaton and Clunes. One of the many massive old gold mines on the Berry lead, the Berry No. 1 features the charming ruins of a brick pump house which can be viewed from the road side. This pump house is the most intact out of the two remaining examples on this deep lead system.
 
Although the Berry Lead was extraordinarily rich in gold, the Berry No. 1 mine has been described as "spectacularly unprofitable". The mine was floated in March 1881, and by the end of 1884 the shaft had been sunk 494 feet with no payable results, with large sums being spent on wages and plant. Berry No. 1 faced difficulties with large flows of water, heavy drift clogging the pumps, declining yields, foul air, and exhausted capital. Over twenty years, with operating costs of £278,764, its record was 50,000 ounces of gold and dividends of less than £5,000. The Berry No. 1 finished up at the turn of the century. 

The Creswick Gold-Mines, a deep alluvial lead, plan of the Berry Group. The Argus, 4th October 1895.

The following article was published in The Argus, 4th October 1895, and describes some of the early difficulties faced by the Berry No. 1:

BERRY NO. 1.

Mining operations were started on this property in August, 1883, and the mine's career has been both expensive and disappointing to its shareholders. The mine was so well situated that capital was freely found to develop the gutter proved by the diamond drill bores. Everything went well until February, 1886, when the "jump up" to the wash at a distance of 930ft from the shaft broke away, the men working below having barely time to escape to the shaft. This incident resulted in the pumps becoming choked with sand, and a new 20in. pump and requisites had to be provided. However, disappointments in mining are soon forgotten and good development work is now being carried on. The main west level is to be driven out to the western boundary, as it is expected that the payable ground recently opened up in the Berry Consols Extended will be here met with. This is the chief prospecting work, which will also prove a line of country not yet explored. Above the west main level, and where the washdirt drives are shown on the plan, the ground opened up exposes a large body of wash, the whole of which is payable, and is sent to the puddlers. The wash is of a heavy character, carrying large quartz boulders with a seam of black clay lying above. From the north main level the No 3 rise takes up into a gutter, also showing a heavy white wash and a black clay seam. There is a good stream of water coming from every face opened. And the ground is yet " green," ie, it is not ready for blocking until more adequately drained. Taking this mine on its present position and forgetting its past history, there is now a reasonable hope that results will be obtained which will return at least some of the capital invested. The last balance sheet shows that not only have no calls been made during the past eight months, but there is also a balance on the right side of the ledger. The mine manager (Mr. W. H. Chegwin) states that when the main levels and leading washdirt drives are further advanced he intends to have 20 parties of men blocking and driving, and he consequently hopes to be then able to increase the yields. The mine, however, is hampered by two evils, the royalty paid on the yields and bad air. Royalty on mining comes to be severely felt when the ground operated on is poor in quality. Some hundred thousand of fathoms of poor washdirt has been left untouched because it would not pay to take it out when a heavy royalty has to be paid on the gross yields. The directors of this mine have decided to put in an air course, as shown on the plan. This should have the effect of giving better ventilation, as well as further prospecting the mine in that direction.

This mine is a feature along Creswick's fantastic Buried Rivers of Gold Heritage Trail, a self-guided driving tour of many sites throughout North Creswick, Ullina, Smeaton and Kingston which tell the story of the area's deep lead mining. Guide books are available for $2 at the Creswick Museum or the Creswick Visitor Information Centre.

The Berry No. 1 mine is located on private property, entry is prohibited. You will get a great view of the pump house and mullock heaps from alongside the Daylesford-Clunes Road. If you're interested in having a closer look at the mine site, there is a walk-around video on YouTube by insynccomps, check it out here






DID YOU KNOW...

  • Evidence of the mid-late 1800's gold rush can be found throughout the Victorian goldfields in the form of abandoned mine shafts and tunnels, mullock heaps, buildings and ruins, circular puddling troughs, remains of cyanide vats, and quartz kilns.
 

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